Wilbert St Fort represented Haiti at the VIII Summit of the Americas and the Young Americas Forum in Lima, Peru, from April 10 to 14, 2018. We (the YLAI Network team) asked him a few questions about his experience at these events to share with the entire YLAI Network. Here are his answers.
What is the best moment for you from the Young Americas Forum?
My best moment from the forum was when I got to speak on behalf of Haitian civil society. I had to share a list of the efforts in place that have led to the fight against corruption in my country. I felt stressed at the beginning of my speech because I was the youngest person in the whole assembly. To speak was a huge honor.
Afterwards, we had discussions between the representatives of the government and the civil society. I met the secretary general of the OAS, Mr. Luis Almagro. I learned a lot about adopting his strategy to fight corruption in our activities as young people. I was also impressed by an organization called REDLAD (link in Spanish), a nonprofit which connects 480 civil society organizations, networks, activists, academics, representatives of trade union and business sectors, social movements, youth and political society of Latin America and the Caribbean with the mission of strengthening of the democratic system, defending of human rights, and promoting the sustainable development and the social cohesion of the inhabitants of the countries in this region.
Why should young people care about good governance, transparency and integrity?
They are hot topics nowadays. As young leaders, we need to take an interest in these topics because we know that bad decisions today can cause decades of suffering and crying in the future. A poorly governed ship will go nowhere to nothingness, which is why we, the future leaders, are promoting good governance, integrity and transparency in our community. We are the future generation, we are called to lead. Knowing that one of the principles of sustainable development is to meet the needs of the present generation without compromising the ability of future generations, we as youth should feel empowered to make recommendations to our governments through forums and summits such as these.
What advice do you have to share with the YLAI Network on the subject of integrity?
Integrity opposes hypocrisy. But it is not always easy to maintain integrity when you find yourself in dangerous, life-threatening and/or precarious situations.
During the course of the summit, I learned that one of the elements which favors corruption is misery (the lack of the fundamental rights such as housing, food , job, etc.). Practicing the standards of integrity involves considering internal consistency as a virtue and suggesting that parties who hold in themselves seemingly contradictory values must explain this divergence or change their beliefs.
My advice to young people is to continue their fight against corruption. To fight against the wind and be the force of promotion for integrity, good governance and transparency in public decisions.
What can someone like you (young, from Latin America or the Caribbean) do to be that force in their community?
I am the coordinator of a coalition called Alliance against Corruption but for Sustainable Development in Central America, North America and the Caribbean. This coalition deals with corruption issues in Haiti. The coalition was created with the purpose of building capacity to promote integrity and fight corruption, develop strategies and raise awareness about governance issues such as corruption.
We are taking advantage of our participation here at the summit to make friends, allies, strengthen our fight against corruption and promote integrity. The coalition organizes marches against corruption and creates and shares petitions. These are actions that others could take in their countries too.
Do you recommend the YLAI Network online course on Responsible Leadership on Transparency and Good Governance?
Yes! In this online course, I learned that transparency and good governance are widely regarded as fundamental for the good management of public affairs, natural resources and property, for fair trade competition, to reduce poverty and stimulate economic growth, and to maintain confidence in the government. It is a valuable course for everyone.
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Wilbert St Fort is a computer engineer and a young Haitian leader. He’s a member of both the YLAI Network and the Global Shapers Community (an initiative of the World Economic Forum). Wilbert currently works for the Haitian government as a technician at the Ministry of Social Affairs and Labor.